The 2014 Constitution of the Republic of Tunisia: The Desired Transformation
vs the Imposed Reality - December 2023

The 2014 Constitution of the Republic of Tunisia: The Desired Transformation vs the Imposed Reality

Throughout the various stages of its political history, the Republic of Tunisia has adopted multiple constitutions, but the 2014 Constitution stands out as one of the most important, due to a unique set of characteristics that brought it close to achieving democratic rule and a constitutional system guaranteeing rights and freedoms. However, the successive governments that came to power under it sought to maintain the status quo, leading to the failure of that Tunisian constitutional experience and to the perpetuation of the status quo. This was true both while the 2014 Constitution was in force and after its suspension, as the analysis in this article will show.
Compared with previous and subsequent Tunisian constitutional experiences, the constituent process that led to the adoption of the 2014 Constitution was democratic and aligned with the main international standards adopted in the framework of contemporary constituent processes. It was characterized by a pluralistic and democratic approach in a genuine attempt to establish a legitimate constituent authority. The process was also inclusive and consensus-based and proved capable of resolving the political crises that arose during the constituent period.
In terms of its contents, it can be said that the 2014 Constitution was successful in establishing a rights-based system that drew inspiration from the popular aspirations of the revolution. It also built an institutional framework capable of promoting the rule of law. However, the constitution contained some ambiguous provisions and omissions that resulted from the political disputes that accompanied the constituent process, giving rise to differing interpretations with respect to the constitutional sources that should serve to interpret the rights and freedoms enshrined in it.
In practice, the 2014 Constitution was also applied selectively in accordance with political interests, especially in terms of the laws that were adopted to implement its provisions. In addition, the constitutional institutions that ensure the supremacy of the constitution and give it precedence over all other laws, the most important of which is the Constitutional Court, were not established. This led to maintaining the status quo, both under the 2014 Constitution and after its suspension and the adoption of the Constitution of 25 July 2022.